8 months ago, after much deliberation and resistance and false starts, I lifted weights for what I hope will be the last first time. In spite of hating exercise, in spite of unbelievable soreness, in spite of hating exercise (oh wait, I said that already), I did it anyway. Every stinking day I drug myself to the weight machine or to the tv for an exercise video. I gasped for air, I collapsed mid workout. I hated exercise. But I was stubborn and persevered.
I had not exercised regularly (read "at all") since going to work 7 years ago. Before that I used to walk with friends, and many moons ago I attended some group fitness classes at a gym. When I began to heal from my eating disorder, I no longer exercised in public since it was a trigger to feeling fat.
When God began to tell me about needing to exercise so that I could be ready to go when He said, "go," I was resistant, to say the least. I never dreamed that it would turn out to be one of the most beautiful journeys I have ever taken.
In a random turn of events, I discovered running. I began struggling with frantic, labored breath to run 30 seconds. Then I could run 90 seconds. Then 2 minutes, then 5, then 10, and finally 45 minutes.
When I run, I feel free. I have no stress, no responsiblities and no agenda. I am beautiful and sexy and a woman. Not mom, wife, or teacher. Those are all beautiful roles that I play, but sometimes it's nice to just be my own person for a little while. It is in running that I have discovered intimacy with God that I have never known. It is in running that I have rediscovered my passion for life.
A few weeks ago I joined a gym. That has been a huge struggle for me. It has turned out to be a lot of fun. I struggle with my body image more when I am there, but I have found that my God is faithful to give me strength in this crazy journey that doesn't yet make sense to me.
8 months ago I put on a bikini and made some before pictures. Today I put my bikini back on and made follow up pictures. I can see a dramatic difference in my body shape. Unfortunately there is no way to photograph the dramatic difference in my soul.
I have been unable to run now for several weeks due to a calf injury. Tonight I pushed myself really hard to see how it did. I was able to fully exercise on it again, even jumping. I am anxiously awaiting morning. You see in the morning, I am going to slip on my running shoes, set the iPod on some Norah, and hit the streets to see how much I can run after such a long break. For an hour before my family awakes, I am going to be a beautiful, sexy woman basking in God's presence before I plunge back into my crazy day filled with responsiblilites and self doubt.
I can't wait.